Annual “Oscar Night of Aviation” shines spotlight on six new National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinees

  • Oct 16, 2014 1:17pm GMT
  • 232 views

On October 4th the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) hosted its 52nd Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony in Dayton, Ohio. Long known as the Oscar Night of Aviation, this year marked the first time the welcome receptions (two) were held in the NAHF Learning Center and the National Museum of the U.S. Force WWII Gallery, and the formal dinner and ceremony in the museum’s spectacular Modern Flight Gallery.

Over 600 attended the black-tie gala, including top officials from organizations and sponsors like United Airlines, GAMA, ALPA, NBAA, Hartzell Propeller, L3, Cirrus Aircraft, General Atomics Aeronautical, GE, Rolls-Royce and more. Amanda Wright-Lane, great grand-niece of the Wright Brothers, Air Force Museum Director Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson, USAF (Ret), and Congressman Mike Turner were among many special guests.

All were there to witness the Class of 2014’s enshrinement into the NAHF, bringing the roster of air and space pioneers so honored (since the hall’s founding in 1962) to 225. Under the deft guidance of emcee David Hartman, and with each induction augmented by video-biographies featuring host/narrator Nick Clooney, the following six outstanding individuals were inducted:

The late Bertrand “Bert” Acosta, early engineer and test pilot, world record-setter, and air mail pioneer. He was presented by Norberto Cisneros, son of Acosta historian Bert Cisneros, who was unable to attend. Accepting was Acosta’s daughter, Gloria Yarhouse.

Alan and Dale Klapmeier, aircraft designers and builders, founders of Cirrus Aircraft. They were presented by GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce. Alan and Dale each accepted their enshrinement.

Brig. Gen. James A. McDivitt, USAF (Ret), combat and test pilot, Gemini 4 and Apollo 9 astronaut. Presenting was “Ollie” Crawford, former President and Chairman of the Air Force Association. Gen. McDivitt accepted.

Emily Howell Warner, the first female pilot and captain of a scheduled U.S. jet airline. Presenting was Donna Miller, First Officer with American Airlines. Capt. Warner accepted.

The late Sylvester “Steve” Wittman, aircraft designer, builder and racer known as “The Dean of Air Racing,” instrumental in getting EAA to relocate its annual fly-in at Oshkosh. Presenting was former Wittman employee and racing protégé, Bill Brennand. Accepting was Wittman’s grand nephew, Chris Andersen.

In addition, prior to the ceremony the 2014 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year Award was presented to Connecticut STEM teacher, Rachael Manzer. She accepted the award and $5,000 check from Crossfield grandson Adam Moulton and 2013 Enshrinee Robert L. “Hoot” Gibson.

Other former enshrinees attending included Joe Engle (2001), Keith Ferris (2012), Charles E. McGee (2011), and S. Harry Robertson (2011).

The NAHF Class of 2015 will be announced this December, and next year’s ceremony will take place on Friday, October 2, again in the NAHF Learning Center and adjacent National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. For more info visit www.nationalaviation.org.